Iraqi politicians are moving to form a new government as Sunni extremists tighten their hold on northern Iraq.
Since its invasion began, the terrorist group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has sent the Iraqi army running as ISIS solidifies control of Iraq's second largest city and vast swaths of the Shiite-dominated country. (Via The New York Times)
NPR reports the offensive has led to strong criticism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, with some saying he "may not be able to keep the support he needs to retain his position."
So it came as little surprise when Iraqi Vice President Khader al Khuzaei announced he would convene an emergency session of Parliament on July 1 with the goal of forming a new government. Secretary of State John Kerry has called on Maliki and other leaders to quickly form a more inclusive government.
"Criticism of Maliki for creating the climate of repression against Sunnis and Kurds." (Via MSNBC)
Maliki has been dismissive of efforts to unite Iraq's religious factions. (Via The Guardian)
"It is no secret to all Iraqis the dangerous goal behind the call for the formation of a national salvation government, as they call it." (Via CNN)
Foreign Policy lists several of the major contenders looking to replace Maliki.
Ahmed Chalabi, known for his influential role leading up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, is seen as a possibility. (Via Wikimedia Commons / Brian1975)
Adel Abdul Mahdi, who fell one vote short of becoming prime minister in 2006, is cited as another challenger. (Via Wikimedia Commons / LaGrandeOurs)
Any new government would have a daunting task: beating back hardened ISIS militants while finding a new balance of power between Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds.
The political drama comes amid an escalating military struggle. (Via CBS)
According to the BBC, Iraq is welcoming airstrikes by the Syrian government against ISIS as militants move to attack Iraq's second largest dam.
If breached, the dam could cause widespread damage and flooding.